We thoroughly enjoyed the Hotel Raco Del Pi. It was reasonably priced, had an elevator, and a great breakfast buffet every morning. The staff people were very nice, friendly and helpful. The hotel served fresh fruits, juices, scrambled and fried eggs, along with a variety of pastries and breads which were included in the cost of the room. (We found this especially convenient and saved us a lot of expense.) There were also cereals, meats and cheeses. Needless to say, Robyn and I tanked up every morning before heading out. The little restaurants and places to eat around that area did not serve anything special to write home about and were also pricey. We found the cuisine in Barcelona to be rather bland to our tastes.
The next morning after our arrival, we woke up to rain which lasted through breakfast. However, the sun came out shortly thereafter and we spent the morning roaming around the shops on La Rambla and near the hotel.
Tuesday morning, we headed down La Rambla to Catalunya Plaza for the Guided Highlights Tour that we booked with the Barcelona Guide Bureau. The tour guide was very informative and entertaining. She pointed out sites of interest with background information. Our itinerary included Passeig de Gracia, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, the Port, Columbus Monument, Mirador de Miramar, Olympic Ring stadiums, and Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village). The only problem that I encountered was the myriad of steps at Park Guell since I have been experiencing difficulty, as most of us elderly do, with balance and a bum knee.
That evening, as we were entering the elevator to go out for dinner, we met a couple also getting on who recognized our Texas accent. Angela is a native of Dublin, Ireland and lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Burke for six months of the year and the other six months in Dublin. They also were scheduled to cruise on the Magic to Galveston. We had dinner together and became good friends.
The next day, we toured Montserrat, a monk monastery half-way up a very steep and high mountain. It was hard to imagine monks traveling on donkeys up this mountain to build this beautiful church. The views were breath taking.
Thursday, we decided to get tickets for the Barcelona Tourista bus which you can hop on and hop off. We rode to the Aquarium and it was raining hard and quite windy. The umbrella that Robyn had purchased Monday from a street vendor blew inside out and broke. So much for cheap (but pricey) umbrellas! The aquarium was quite nice, but I have seen some comparable ones in Texas and Tennessee. We rode the upper deck of the bus on our way back since the rain had abated — great way to see everything.
Friday morning, we shared our taxi with Angela and Burke to the ship terminal (yes, the taxi picked us up at the hotel front door this time) to board the Carnival Magic for the next chapter of this great and wonderful adventure.